“Paschal Mystery in the Life of Laity”-A A +A
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
“THE Paschal Mystery in the Life of the Laity” was the assigned theme of the Lenten retreat at the “Immaculate Concepcion Parish” scheduled on Holy Thursday. This was to be a 3 hour sharing that I was invited to lead.
Knowing that the attention span of most people is short, I asked Angie to join me. Actually, I also knew that she was more prepared than I was to tackle the challenging theme. It may be a 3 hour recollection for the attendees, but preparing for it became a 3 week recollection for both of us. We had to prepare ourselves spiritually and read up on the topic. We even attended a Lenten recollection in Makati 2 weeks ago to prepare ourselves.
And still I felt inadequate. As I write this article two days before “D-Day”, I realize that God wants me to surrender this feeling of inadequacy, insecurity and incompetence to Him. May it not be a sharing from my knowledge or experience, but by the power of the Holy Spirit. May He speak thru us and use us in a mighty way.
Yes, God works in mysterious ways. Had it not been for this assignment, I might not have tried to read up on it. He wanted me to know more about the Paschal Mystery and to put it into action in my life.
In brief, let me write what I have been inspired to share:
The Paschal Mystery is the reality of the suffering, death, and resurrection of our Lord. This phrase refers to the mystery of Christ triumph over sin and death on Good Friday and his entrance into glorified, resurrected life on Easter Sunday.
Why is it a mystery? I would like to believe that it is difficult to comprehend how an almighty God would want to send His only Son, and allow Him to suffer a difficult, painful, and tortuous crucifixion for us. But He did.
The Laity refers to the non-clergy, who have been baptized and have been united in Christ thru the saving grace of baptism. Together with the clergy, the priest and the nuns, we are all called to fulfill our mission.
Who are we?
We are His mere creatures, billions of us, who are all replaceable, here today, and “gone tomorrow”. Yes, He made each of us unique with our own DNA, and molded us so intricately, body and soul, as only a Divine Master can do. None of us are results of accidents. Even if some of us may be unplanned by our parents, He willed us to be alive, and has written our names in the palm of His hand.
He created us in His image and likeness. And gave us free will.
God loves us!
Yet we sinned against Him. And the only explanation why He came to save us from our sinfulness is found in one word: LOVE! “God so LOVED the world that He sent His only begotten Son, so that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish, but shall have life everlasting. (John 3:16)
Jesus is Lord!
He is the Lord and Master of the universe. Among many powers, He can heal the sick, raise up the dead, turn water into wine and calm the storms. There is nothing impossible for Him.
It is one thing to state the fact that He is Lord. It is another to allow Him to be our Lord. The latter is a relationship issue that we have to nurture. As it is said in Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, “Lord, Lord,” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
We are called to take action!
What should we do? Jesus says that those who want to come after Him, “Should deny themselves, take up their cross daily, and follow Him”.
Going thru suffering!
I used to say, and still do say, “Lord help me overcome challenges and sufferings”, but I recently learned to pray, “Lord, please grant me the grace to go thru these sufferings”. Try it!
When we face difficulties in life, unite our sufferings with Christ, and offer them as a sacrifice to the Lord, in atonement of our sins, or as an offering for our various intentions, we are in the suffering part of the Paschal mystery. When we rise above them, grow in perseverance, and build character, and bear the fruits of the Spirit, we are rising above the pains and difficulties and joining Christ in His resurrection. His resurrection is the celebration of victory over sin, evil, and death.
Dying to our sins!
When we die to ourselves, die to our wants, die to our selfishness, and
die to our sins, AND consciously join our Lord in His death, we are reliving the DYING portion of the Paschal mystery. Dying in order to Live!
Prayer is the same tool used to acknowledge Jesus is Lord, reciprocate His love for us, and gain strength to overcome and pass thru obstacles and temptations.
WHAT IS OUR ROLE AS LAITY IN FULFILLING OUR MISSION?
1. Preach the Word.
2. Live out the gospel in our everyday lives.
My Dearest Fellow Followers of Christ,
After reading several articles on the Paschal Mystery and about our role as members of the Laity, specially in this declared Year of the Laity, I feel that only the power of the Holy Spirit can fill me with the right words to share in the recollection.
May He use us in a mighty way on each daily Good Friday and Easter Sunday of our lives. And may we be worthy instruments of His saving grace!
Published in the Sun.Star Baguio newspaper on April 17, 2014.